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12 July 2019 / Issue 28

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Top News for the Week


CapitaLand prices One Pearl Bank units from S$970,000

Real estate developer CapitaLand’s 99-year leasehold condo One Pearl Bank will be open for booking on July 20, with prices starting from S$970,000 for studio units.

Known for its curved towers linked by sky bridges, the 39-storey condo occupies a land area of 82,376 square feet (sq ft) and is expected to be completed by 2023.

The development comprises 774 residential apartments, ranging from studio apartments to penthouses. Sizes are from 430 sq ft to 2,800 sq ft.

Over 60 per cent of the units will be priced under S$2 million. The indicative pricing starts at S$970,000 for a studio unit, S$1.1 million for a one-bedroom unit, S$1.5 million for a two-bedder, S$2.5 million for a three-bedder and S$3.5 million for a four-bedroom unit.

Smaller units like the studio, one- and two-bedroom units make up about 70 per cent of the apartments.

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Piermont Grand EC open for applications this weekend

Applications for Piermont Grand, the first executive condominium (EC) to be launched this year, will start this weekend, with bookings to be conducted on July 27.

The 820-unit EC was developed by City Developments Limited (CDL) and TID, and overlooks My Waterway@Punggol.

CDL did not comment on the pricing for the project.

The EC offers three-, four-and five-bedroom units, with sizes ranging from 840 sq ft for a three- bedroom flat to 1,701 sq ft for a five-bedroom premium penthouse.

Piermont Grand is located near the Sumang and Nibong LRT stations and connected to the Punggol MRT station and bus interchange.

It is also near the upcoming Punggol Digital District, which will house digitally focused companies, JTC business parks and the Singapore Institute of Technology’s new campus.

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Dyson owner forks out S$73.8m for Singapore’s costliest penthouse

The founder of privately-held British consumer electronics maker Dyson and his wife have become the owners of Singapore’s most expensive condo.

BT understands that Sir James Dyson and his wife, Deirdre, paid S$73.8 million for the triplex super penthouse at Wallich Residence, which is the Republic’s tallest residence.

The unit occupies the top three levels of the 64-storey, 290-metre high tower at Tanjong Pagar Centre developed by GuocoLand.

The price works out to S$3,496 per sq ft based on the 21,108 sq ft strata area (including 6,577 sq ft of strata void).

The transaction is the highest in absolute price terms for a penthouse in Singapore, toppling the nearly S$60 million that Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin paid for the 10,300 sq ft super penthouse at the freehold Sculptura Ardmore in 2017. The transaction worked out to around S$5,650 psf. That penthouse, on levels 35 and 36, has a cantilevered private pool.

The Wallich Residence super penthouse the Dysons bought also comes with a private pool, pool deck area, cabana, jacuzzi room, entertainment area and a cantilevered balcony with panoramic views including of the Central Business District, Marina Bay and Sentosa. It has a dedicated lift but there is no dedicated carpark lot, according to an earlier media report.

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Singapore luxury units see more interest from foreigners

Political and social tensions in the region are sparking renewed interest from ultra-high-net-worth foreign investors for luxury apartments in prime districts here.

Wealthy residents of Hong Kong, which has been roiled in recent weeks by the worst social unrest since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule, seem to be among those looking to Singapore as a property safe haven in more turbulent times.

In one sign that more investors from Hong Kong are looking to park some of their wealth here, agents here handling commercial property and hotels have seen a pickup in inquiries in the past few weeks from family offices and funds in the territory, starting from $200 million to more than

$500 million.

The luxury property market is certainly showing signs of life, with interest among high-net-worth investors in trophy assets. Luxury apartments are defined as branded developments in this region with a price quantum of $5 million and above.

The buzz over high-end freehold Boulevard 88 in Orchard Boulevard helped boost the number of caveats lodged for luxury apartments in the prime district or Core Central Region (CCR) by 18 per cent to 164 units in the first half of the year, compared with 139 in the second half of 2018. But cooling measures implemented last July meant sales were down 29 per cent from 232 in the first half of last year.

Foreigners and permanent residents made up 70 per cent of the 164 transactions in the first half of this year in the prime district or CCR. That was up from 61 per cent a year ago with mainland Chinese comprising the biggest group, followed by Indonesians, Americans, Cambodians and Britons.

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Sentosa Cove past its prime?

It had been marketed as “the world’s most desirable address” and pitched as a playground for the rich and famous, but since the last peak in transaction activity in 2010, property prices in the waterfront housing district of Sentosa Cove have lagged those for high-end residences on mainland Singapore. Market watchers attribute this to several factors, including the introduction of the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) in late 2011 at a rate of 10 per cent on foreign buyers of Singapore residential properties. In January 2013, the rate was hiked to 15 per cent before being raised further to 20 per cent last July.

Because of the way Sentosa Cove had been marketed, it had historically relied more heavily on foreign buyers compared with high-end homes on the mainland. Hence many players with stakes in Sentosa Cove see ABSD as the “killer” for residential sales in the precinct.

Other factors have also contributed to the relatively quieter property market at Cove, including the precinct’s master developer winding down overseas promotional activity for the location once it had finished selling the last of the big land parcels in 2008, said observers.

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Singapore condo resale prices down 0.4% in June

Singapore’s condo resale prices were down 0.4 per cent in June from its May peak, breaking an upward trend that had lasted four months, according to monthly flash figures.

The decline in June follows a 0.4 per cent gain in May.

Prices in the CCR saw the biggest decline, down 0.7 per cent, while prices for outside central region areas retreated 0.4 per cent.

Prices in the city fringes, or rest of central region, were unchanged from May.

Volume of sales dropped 20.5 per cent with 666 units resold in June, compared to the 838 units recorded in May. Year on year, the decline was bigger at 41.8 per cent fewer units resold compared with June 2018.

However, overall condo prices were higher by 1.6 per cent versus June 2018.

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Singapore condo rents dip again in June, HDB rents edge up

Rents for non-landed private properties continued to soften for the second straight month while that for HDB flats edged up again, according to flash data.

Condominium and private apartment rents dipped 0.2 per cent in June from May, after inching down by the same rate in May.

Going by location, private rents dipped 0.5 per cent in CCR last month, fell 1.1 per cent for OCR, and rose 0.9 per cent for RCR.

Year on year, private rents were a modest 1.9 per cent higher, with all regions in Singapore seeing increases: 2.7 per cent for the CCR, 2.1 per cent for the RCR and 1.0 per cent for the OCR.

Links to the story:   data


New $778m complex for Buangkok in 2022

Buangkok residents were given a first look at plans for a new complex in the area that will house a community club, retail spaces and private homes under one roof.

The project, which will be built on a 3.7ha site next to Buangkok MRT station, is due for completion in 2022.

A three-storey mall below 680 apartments will have a hawker centre and childcare facility. “Food options around here are quite limited, so the new development is welcome,” said administration executive Alicia Woo, 49, who lives in the area. “It’s good to have it within walking distance of my home as well.”

Fellow resident and engineer Ryan Aw, 38, said: “For me, the childcare centre will be important because it’s very hard to get a place around here.”

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Two mixed-use developments up for collective sale

Two mixed-use developments are on the collective sale market – one making its debut, while the other is trying again after a revamped proposal.

The new entrant is the freehold Hoa Nam Building in the Lavender area, which is asking for $160 million. The price works out to $1,866 per sq ft based on the gross floor area (GFA) of 85,744 sq ft, said marketing agent Huttons Asia.

This is 4.0133 times the site area of 21,365 sq ft and exceeds the 3.0 plot ratio designated under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Master Plan 2014. The land is zoned for commercial and residential use.

Hoa Nam Building in Foch Road has 83 units – 36 apartments, 14 offices and 33 shops. The site can be redeveloped up to the current GFA, said Huttons Asia’s Stephen Tan, or alterations carried out on the existing building.

The other building vying for a buyer is Sultan Plaza – a 244-unit, 99-year leasehold development in Jalan Sultan, off Beach Road.

It is relaunching its bid to sell en bloc after getting URA support for hotel, mixed commercial and residential use.

The tender for the 1970s block will be relaunched on Thursday with the same reserve price of $380 million and will close at 3pm on Aug 1.

Sultan Plaza is on a land area of 52,471 sq ft. It can be redeveloped up to a gross floor area of about 24,370 sq m, reflecting an equivalent plot ratio of 5.0 and a development height control of approximately 33 storeys.

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Property facing demand-supply mismatch but Redas sees limited price downside

While the current situation of high supply and subdued demand in the property market may be challenging, observers say that the downside may be limited as private home prices look towards stabilisation.

Cooling measures introduced in July last year have “remained a restraining factor” for both foreign and local buyers, said Chia Ngiang Hong, president of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas).

He was speaking at Redas’ property market update seminar for 2019.

He said that the bruising impact of heftier additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) and tighter loan- to-value ratios is further compounded by Singapore’s reduced full-year growth estimates, as well as global economic uncertainties amid trade tensions.

Based on data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, some 44,000 private housing units remain unsold.

These unsold units may take three or more years to clear, and pointed towards softer demand and smaller profit margins.

Link to the story: price-downside


Property investment sales up 49% in second quarter

Real estate investment sales surged 49 per cent quarter on quarter on the back of big-ticket office- sector deals.

The second quarter of the year recorded S$6.7 billion in real estate investment sales, with 52 per cent of that figure coming from commercial deals.

The quarter’s two largest office-space deals alone generated just under S$2 billion in sales.

One is the purchase of Oxley Holdings’ Chevron House by AEW for S$1 billion. In the other deal, the South Korean National Pension Service bought a S$982.5 million half-stake in Frasers Tower after Frasers Commercial Trust declined to exercise its right of first refusal, as the deal would not be yield-accretive for its unitholders.

Residential and industrial sales amounted to S$1.7 billion and S$0.5 billion respectively, bringing the total volume in H1 2019 to S$11.2 billion.

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Sun Venture granted exclusive due diligence for 71 Robinson Rd

The Business Times understands that property investment group Sun Venture has been granted exclusive due diligence with a view to buy the 15-storey office block. The pricing is slightly under S$2,800 per sq ft of net lettable area (NLA), which would translate to an absolute price in the region of S$660 million.

The pricing would reflect a net yield of about 3.5 per cent based on income from the existing leases. Currently running at full house with an average monthly passing rent in the low-S$10 psf range, 71 Robinson Road’s tenants include CommerzBank, Visa, Ogilvy and WeWork.

The building, with 237,644 sq ft NLA, is on a site at the corner of Robinson Road and McCallum Street; the site has nearly 74 years’ balance lease. Completed 11 years ago, 71 Robinson Road is deemed to have Grade A specifications.

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JustCo to open Manulife Centre co-working space later this year

Co-working space provider JustCo will open an outlet at Manulife Centre later this year.

The facility will occupy around 50,000 sq ft over two levels of the building in Bras Basah’s Art and Heritage District.

It is expected to house about 1,000 members and bring JustCo’s portfolio to 33 centres across eight regional cities – Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Jakarta, Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne and Taipei.

JustCo’s space at China Square Central, which was announced last year, will open in the fourth quarter this year. The firm has nine spaces in Asia slated for opening in the second half of this year, including three in Taipei and the two here.

Frasers Property, GIC and JustCo announced last year that they were jointly investing US$177 million (S$241 million) to develop a co-working space platform across Asia.

JustCo’s last recorded fund-raising round was a Series B one in 2017 led by Thai property developer Sansiri, which valued the company at about US$200 million.

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Retail podium, three office floors at 30 Raffles Place on the market

A four-level retail podium and the three lowest office floors designated for a banking hall in a revamp of the former Chevron House have been put up for sale through an expression of interest exercise.

The 32-storey property at 30 Raffles Place is being spruced up at a cost of about S$110 million, The Business Times understands.

Among other changes, part of basement 2 is being converted from carpark space to retail. The remainder of basement 2 along with basement 3 will continue to house car park lots.

Word on the street is that the indicative combined pricing for the retail podium and banking hall space is S$480 million.

The price split is roughly S$300 million for the retail space (about S$5,800 psf on net lettable area or NLA); and S$180 million (almost S$3,100 psf) for the proposed banking hall in the office podium, which occupies levels 3, 4 and 5.

Bidders may make offers for either the retail space or the office space, or both.

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Japanese lender expanding in Asia, plans branch in Singapore

One of Japan’s biggest regional banks is resuming an expansion overseas, 20 years after the country’s financial crisis forced it to retreat.

Concordia Financial Group plans to expand in Asia to offer cash management services to its Japanese corporate clients and infrastructure loans to local entities, said its president Kenichi Kawamura. It aims to hire specialists and double overseas loans to more than 400 billion yen (S$5 billion) in three years.

The country’s second-biggest regional bank by assets aims to set up a branch in Singapore as a transaction banking hub for Japanese corporate clients operating in South-east Asia, he added.

Many of the bank’s customers, such as auto-parts makers, operate in the region and need help with trade finance and managing their cash flows more efficiently, he said.

About 1,500 of Concordia’s corporate clients do business in South-east Asia and India.

The push into overseas transaction banking should give the lender better access to foreign currency deposits, in turn, providing funding for its lending plans, he said.

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A&W wants to get it right this time

The queues at its Jewel outlet have yet to die down, but A&W is already working on its expansion strategy for new markets in Indochina and the Philippines – fed by new products and procedures to be created in Singapore.

The 100-year-old restaurant chain has chosen to invest directly in company-owned stores here, 16 years after exiting the Singapore market.

By keeping things in-house, A&W can experiment with self-ordering kiosks and delivery, which it plans to do once its consumer traffic stabilises.

Singapore’s first outlet, at Jewel Changi Airport, opened in April, while the Ang Mo Kio Hub store will begin operations in late-July. A third store is slated for early 2020, and is likely to also be in a heartland area.

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Some Jewel Changi eateries to close earlier

All eight restaurants at Jewel Changi Airport’s fifth-floor Canopy Park will have shorter operating hours.

The new hours, stated by a spokesman from Jewel Changi Airport Development, are from 9 to 1am on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays; and 10am to midnight on Sundays to Thursdays.

Previously, restaurants on the fifth floor, such as Burger & Lobster and Prive, were expected to open daily from 9 to 3am.

The change, says the spokesman, is in line with the shorter opening hours for the attractions in Canopy Park.

The attractions will open from 10am to 1am on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays; and from 10am to midnight on Sundays to Thursdays.

The operating hours for selected eateries and food kiosks in Basement 2 of the mall have also been updated and some will cease 24-hour operations.

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Five Guys to open at Plaza Singapura at year’s end

Famous American burger chain Five Guys – known for its customisable beef burgers – will open its first outlet here at Plaza Singapura in the last quarter of this year.

Besides burgers, Five Guys also serves hot dogs, sandwiches, hand-cut fries and milkshakes. The menu in Singapore will be the same as that in the United States and Hong Kong.

The Five Guys outlet in Singapore will be located on the ground floor of Plaza Singapura and offer indoor and outdoor seats.

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Higher wages, spiffy outfits fail to shift locals’ mindset against F&B, retail jobs

Higher wages, medical insurance, a robust commission structure and even new “designer” staff uniforms – these are some of the carrots the food and beverage (F&B) and retail sectors are offering to local workers amid cuts to the services sector’s foreign worker quotas.

But it remains an uphill task to fill job vacancies, as local interest in these sectors continues to wane.

According to mobile jobs portal FastJobs, there has been a shrinking proportion of local applicants for F&B and retail openings on its platform.

This is despite a 24 per cent year-on-year increase in overall local applicants.

In 2016, Singaporeans made up 73 per cent of all F&B job applicants on FastJobs, compared to just 62 per cent this year. Similarly, 75 per cent of retail job applicants in 2016 were Singaporeans, compared to 66 per cent this year.

Most employers at FastJob’s two-day job fair at Bedok Town Square told The Business Times that wages have been increasing over the years, coupled with other full-timer perks such as more paid annual leave.

But these are not the only factors Singaporeans consider, they said, citing other important concerns such as job scope and brand image.

Links to the story: against-fb-retail-jobs


Way forward is to grow external wing to beat constraints

In the next lap of Singapore’s economic development, local companies will see the world as their hinterland, instead of being constrained by geographical size or location, said Minister for Trade and Industry (MTI) Chan Chun Sing in Parliament.

Having this perspective would be one way for Singapore to break the “conventional paradigm” of the gross domestic product (GDP) equation, which comprises only the value of goods and services produced within its borders, he added.

To grow Singapore’s economy henceforth, the city-state will also need to focus on gross national product (GNP), he said. GNP refers to the value of goods and services produced by Singapore residents around the world.

For that to happen, Singapore must have a sizeable base of companies that operate beyond Singapore, but which still contribute back to the local economy, said Mr Chan.

Links to the story: constraints-chan-chun-sing uncertainty


Singapore, Armenia sign pacts to strengthen economic, bilateral ties

Singapore and Armenia sealed four memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and one agreement building on their friendly relations and common interests.

In a statement issued last night, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the pacts will help strengthen economic ties and enhance bilateral ties.

The exchange of documents was witnessed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is on his first official visit to Singapore.

An agreement for the avoidance of double taxation was inked, which will boost cross-border trade and investment between the Republic and Armenia.

Links to the story: bilateral-ties


Singaporeans can help offset low birth rates if more work longer

Singaporeans, who are living longer, can help to offset the low birth rates if more of them continue working for longer, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor.

She was speaking at the opening of the High-Level Forum on the Silver Economy in Helsinki. Organised by the Finnish government and the Global Coalition on Ageing, the two-day forum, which brought together participants from 45 countries, is part of myriad events being held this year leading up to the United Nations’ Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030.

Dr Khor said that in 2017, Singaporeans had a life expectancy of 84.8 years, of which 74.2 were lived in full health. “This brings opportunities for greater labour force participation at older ages, and is important for a country like Singapore, where birth rates are relatively low,” she told the audience.

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Scale-up SG to groom promising local firms to be world powerhouses

A new initiative to turbo-charge the growth of promising local enterprises to become international names was launched, as part of the government’s efforts to grow more companies that can compete on the world stage.

Known as Scale-up SG, the 2½ years invitation-only programme – first announced in Budget 2019

– aims to groom high-growth companies with a proven track record and the aspiration to scale rapidly.

This is a marked move by the government towards more targeted support for companies ready for their next phase of expansion, even as broad-based measures remain in place for fledgling firms to get off the ground.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that Scale-up SG aims to strengthen companies at the “core” of Singapore’s business landscape, which he describes as those in the middle tier.

Participating companies stand to gain from peer learning, the development of their leadership team and succession planning, as well as access to networks of Enterprise Singapore and partners.

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Iswaran repeats call for SMEs to go digital

Renewed efforts aimed at brand-new companies have boosted a government campaign to match small businesses with digital tools.

This is even as Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran fingered small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – especially in domestic-facing sectors – as potential culprits behind the patchy digital adoption by companies here.

The SMEs Go Digital scheme – which offers a suite of subsidised, pre-approved business solutions

– has seen a rash of sign-ups since an initiative aimed at newly formed businesses kicked off in January.

Some 10,000 companies here have taken part in the S$80 million SMEs Go Digital scheme since its launch in 2017, according to an update from the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

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Singapore’s building sector set to grow but downside risks loom

The residential and non-residential building sector in Singapore will grow at 3.2 per cent this year and 2.3 per cent in 2020, supported by a strong pipeline of projects, according to Fitch Solutions Macro Research.

But the firm warned of risks to its forecasts which include uncertainty surrounding US-China trade tensions and the possibility of a recession occurring within the next few quarters.

Fitch raised its growth forecasts for the sector in a report, revising them up by 0.2 percentage point from 3 per cent previously for 2019 due to a pipeline of projects currently under planning and construction coming through from 2018.

Over the next two years, construction activity for residential buildings will be stronger than for the non-residential sector, Fitch noted.

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Singapore drawing more high-mix, low-volume investments

More  investment  involving  small-batch  production  is  coming  to  Singapore  in  the  wake   of escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

Mr Chan told Parliament that such investment – known as “high-mix, low-volume” with plants producing small numbers of varied items – is the kind of manufacturing that can relocate to Singapore.

He noted that these kinds of processes gravitate to countries like Singapore that have a strong intellectual property regime, agile regulatory frameworks and robust distribution networks.

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Deutsche layoffs: impact in Singapore seen as muted

Impact at Deutsche Bank’s Singapore operations will be more muted compared to other regional hubs such as Hong Kong, although the German lender declined to elaborate on the number of employees who will be affected here.

A Deutsche spokeswoman said Singapore is the Asia-Pacific hub for the investment bank’s fixed income and currencies business, while Hong Kong has been the Asia equities hub, which explains why Singapore will be less affected.

Deutsche’s main businesses in Singapore include corporate banking, investment banking, wealth management and asset management. In its press release issued on Sunday, it said that while the investment bank is exiting equities sales and trading globally, it will focus on its traditional strengths in financing, advisory and fixed income and currencies.

These are expected to increase activity in areas of particular relevance for corporates, including credit and foreign exchange products, it added.

Deutsche also emphasised that it is still maintaining a global presence, with major hubs in Asia, Europe and the US.

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Singapore is top maritime centre for 6th straight year

For the sixth year running, Singapore has clinched the top spot among the world’s maritime centres in the Xinhua-Baltic International Shipping Centre Development Index.

The Republic beat 42 other cities such as Hong Kong, which ranked second, as well as London, which was third. Rounding out the top five maritime centres in the rankings were Shanghai (fourth) and Dubai (fifth).

The index is an independent ranking of the performance of the world’s largest cities offering port and shipping business services.

It is a collaboration between Chinese state news agency Xinhua and international freight benchmark provider Baltic Exchange, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Singapore Exchange.

Rankings were based on factors such as port throughput and facilities, the depth and breadth of professional maritime support services, as well as the general business environment.

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Pharma giant GSK opens $130m manufacturing facility in Singapore

Building collaboration between companies and the Government and engaging workers are vital steps in ensuring Singapore stays a global biomedical hub, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said.

Mr Chan told a gathering to mark the opening of a new manufacturing facility: “Today, Singapore is one of the global biomedical hubs where high-quality medical products are produced. And today, even though we are at the forefront of this industry, we never forget our fundamentals that have brought us here.”

These include developing trusted partnerships with industry players, protecting intellectual property and training workers.

But he noted that the nature of medicine has changed and demand now is for precision drugs, which calls for products that are custom-made for individuals.

Links to the story: in-spore


Mapletree Industrial Trust to redevelop flatted-factory cluster at Kallang Way

Mapletree Industrial Trust (MIT) plans to redevelop a flatted-factory cluster at Kallang Way into a high-tech industrial precinct at a total project cost of about S$263 million, in its largest redevelopment project to date.

The proposed redevelopment of the Kolam Ayer 2 Cluster includes a build-to-suit (BTS) facility for a medical device company headquartered in Germany, customised to the firm’s specifications and plans, the manager of the mainboard-listed real estate industrial trust (Reit) said.

The German firm will be the anchor tenant and has committed to lease the BTS facility for an initial term of 15 years, with annual rental escalations and an option to renew for two more five- year terms.

Links to the story: cluster-at-kallang-way


Dyson’s Singapore electric dream is all about personal cars

Home appliance maker Dyson’s bid for the electric vehicle market involves a bet on personal cars, chief executive James “Jim” Rowan has said.

Calling that market “the biggest segment, certainly” in the electric landscape, he added that it will likely see the fastest adoption on consumer-driven uptake and industry trends such as sustainable transport.

He said that Dyson’s headcount here is set to grow, with a focus on software engineering and digital marketing. Also, Dyson will raise production at its Jurong motor plant, and take up more space at Science Park, where it now has a technology hub.

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Raffles Hotel’s retail arcade reopens with wider mix of tenants

Raffles Hotel’s shopping arcade re-opened its doors after renovation works, which began in 2017. The three-storey arcade now boasts a wider range of tenants and event spaces, with more than 30 retail, dining and lifestyle offerings, including co-working space The Great Room, multi-label store The AC, luxury furniture label Minotti and restaurant Burger & Lobster.

Some returning tenants include luxury watch store The Hour Glass and German camera brand Leica. There is also a new Raffles Spa.

About 70 per cent of the stores are already open for business, while the rest, including Burger & Lobster, will open within the next three months.

The Jubilee Hall, a popular venue for plays and concerts in the 1990s, has been transformed into a ballroom that can seat 300 guests.

The 5,199 sq ft Jubilee Ballroom, decked in elegant hues of cream and gold, is billed as an ideal venue for weddings and galas.

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UK housing prices dip but there are signs of optimism

UK house prices fell in June as Brexit uncertainty leaves the market in limbo, though there are some signs of optimism.

Prices dipped 0.3 per cent to an average £237,110 (S$404,000) from a month earlier, mortgage lender Halifax said. Economists predicted a fall of 0.4 per cent. From a year ago, values increased 5.7per cent in the three months through June, against a backdrop of low growth in the same period of last year.

Demand for housing stabilised in May, with agreed sales falling for a 10th consecutive month, but less steeply. Sentiment on the longer-term outlook for sales and prices showed a modest recovery, the report said.

The property market has been suffering from political turmoil over the UK’s departure from the European Union, but a shortage of homes, record employment and low borrowing costs are all putting a floor under values

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Lee Sze Teck Head, Research




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